Kwantlen Polytechnic University: Student life on campus

An insider’s guide to the best place to live, campus food and more

Kyler Emerson, 24
Journalism and English

Kyler Emerson (Courtesy of Emilio Saenz-Saldana)

Why did you choose Kwantlen?
I chose KPU because it was close to home and one of the more affordable post-secondary school options. The KPU inter-campus shuttle was a huge bonus; I don’t have to commute from the Langley campus to the main one in Surrey.

Describe some of your best experiences so far.
In 2017, my interdisciplinary instructor suggested I make a submission to the Kwantlen Faculty Association’s Art Contest Awards Gala. It included writing a 500-word piece to go with an art submission. I submitted a photo that I took on Mayne Island (in the southern Gulf Islands chain of B.C.) and that I played around with in editing. I came in second place. In 2021, I submitted a non-fiction feature article that I wrote for a class assignment about my boyfriend’s lungs collapsing four times while he was in high school. I won a $1,000 tuition scholarship.

Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
Since 2019, I’ve been a staff member at KPU’s student paper, the Runner. This experience has changed my life and given me the chance to build my portfolio as an aspiring journalist. I’ve written on transgender rights and access to health care, and climate change. I’ve covered provincial, federal and our student association elections. I had no prior experience, and I’m grateful they took a chance on me. I’ve never loved a job more.

What do you think of your professors?
Originally, I planned to pursue a degree in psychology at KPU, but as I got further into the program I discovered it wasn’t for me and switched into the school’s four-year journalism program. Journalism clicked for me, and since I’ve switched programs I’ve been excelling in school. My instructors have been available for help as needed, and they have always accommodated my chronic illness. The journalism department is small, but it’s a community within itself, and I’ve felt like a part of it since my first class.

What do you think of the school’s administration?
Overall, KPU’s services are good. Administration usually responds to me quite quickly when I have questions. The online course registration has changed a couple of times in my years at KPU, so there have been moments of confusion, but it didn’t take me long to figure things out.

What is off-campus life like in Surrey?
Unfortunately, KPU’s main campus is in a primarily residential area in Surrey. Thankfully, Kwantlen Pizza is across the street. There is also a small plaza nearby with a Starbucks and White Spot restaurant.

PROFILE: Kwantlen Polytechnic University | Surrey, B.C. | Founded 1981

If I wrote the school motto: ‘Ryan Reynolds was here’
Best place to live: Coquitlam
Best place to study: At the Surrey main campus, the library is the best place to study. At the Langley campus, I like to study at the tables by the enrolment office or in the cafeteria.
Best campus events: The Kwantlen Gaming Guild’s annual bash
Weirdest tradition: Not necessarily weird, but each year, and even during the pandemic, the KPU Brew Lab releases a signature series of beer brewed by students in the brewing diploma program. The first series this year was called Bad Habits.
Best pizza: Kwantlen Pizza
Best place for a fancy dinner: The Keg or Earls
Best giveaway: A SPUD gift card from the Kwantlen Student Association
Best bar for hanging out: I don’t drink, but I like the vibe at Browns Socialhouse
Best live music venue: The Grassroots Café
Best hangover breakfast: Salty fries from the cafeteria
Best place for a nap: The couches in the Grassroots Café
Best weekend activity: Hiking
The thing that surprised me most about the school: The support from Accessibility Services
If I could change one thing about the school: Free parking for all students

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